choices

Good News

Amtrak Crash

I woke up to the news of a train derailment in Philadelphia. There were many people injured and at least 6 dead.

I watched a national morning news program where survivors of the crash said that the majority of people involved not only remained calm but worked together to get everyone out. There were accounts of passengers sitting with other passengers helping to ease their fear and console them before the paramedics could get to them.

The reporter seemed stunned.

The subsequent news stories described the devastation of the crash and told that there was an alert because this might be a terrorist attack.  And with all of the trains now running in the US, they wondered, are we truly safe?

I have noticed the media uses words when reporting, like terrifying ordeal, devastating and horrific. I thought the news was to report the facts? But if they just reported the facts without embellishment, their audience would think it was boring, right?

The news is a business and has certainly spent a lot of money on marketing research so they know which news stories sell. They’re doing what will put the most money in their pocket.

When I watch the national news, I get scared. Then I want to do something to fix what’s making me scared so I think I have to fight against what’s wrong. It ends up being me against someone or something else and now I’m not only scared but angry as well.

What do I want? I want the facts, just the facts, free of embellishing. I believe the media has a strong responsibility to be aware of the words they use so as to not incite fear or anger.

The Philadelphia train crash actually gives me hope. In addition to passengers helping each other, our men and women who are firemen, police officers and paramedics, were quick to respond.

And this is what happens not only here in the US but around the world. People rushing in to help when disaster strikes.  Look at Nepal.

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In our town, we have recently experienced flooding and who was there to help? Our volunteer fire departments not only from our town but from surrounding towns as well.

I also saw a crew from a neighboring town helping with clean up. Neighbors helping neighbors.

So yes, there is a lot of bad going on in the world, but I believe there is more good than bad and I refuse to be scared anymore.

Instead of looking for evidence that the world is a scary place, let’s look for the good.  It’s out there, we just have to look for it.

 

Business Lessons I learned From Motherhood

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(Halloween 1992)

Recently I was sitting at my kitchen table working on my computer when I suddenly realized it was 3:30 in the afternoon and I was still in my pajamas.

It reminded of the days when my kids were little. There were times I didn’t get a shower until after my husband got home, the house was a mess and I had no clue what we were going to have for dinner.

Starting and growing a business is a lot like raising children.

They both consist of long hours and low pay, only at the beginning of your business, hopefully, or no pay, in the case of motherhood.

You really have no idea whether you are doing the right thing or even if what you’re doing is effective. You want to believe you’re doing a good job raising your kids but you really have no idea until they get to be adults. Same thing with a business, there’s a lot of trial, error and adjustment.

I remember standing over my sleeping child praying that I wouldn’t do something to mess them up too much.  As a business owner, I sometimes wake up at night wondering why in the world I decided to put myself out there for all the world to see if I should fail.

When my kids were in school, we were friends with their friend’s parents. There were always tennis matches, swim meets and school events where parents congregated and communed. The support of other parents was invaluable as we commiserated about the struggles of parenting.

Now I go to networking events and commune with other business women. The support of like-minded successful women has kept me in business.

Being a mom and a business owner has taught me a few things along the way:

  • Beware of people who offer advice, and there will be many. Listen but don’t be quick to take it if it doesn’t feel right for you. As with your children, your business is your responsibility. Follow what feels right for you not what the so-called experts say is right.
  • Learn from other people’s mistakes and emulate their success. My parental role models were women who had successfully raised happy, healthy, well-adjusted children. Who are the successful business women you admire? Surround yourself with them and listen for their advice.
  •  Most of all, enjoy the journey. So many people told me to enjoy my kids because they grow up so fast. That was the best piece of advice I ever received and tried to savor every moment. Now I am trying to do the same when it comes to my business.

Even with all of our struggles and mistakes, we always seem to remember the “good old days.”  Someday, these will be the good old days. Why not enjoy them now?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding What Works

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I have a friend with a background in finance and was very successful in the corporate world. A few years ago, she left her high paying, structured job, decided to downsize and began living simply.

She became a free spirit who flows from one thing to the next with very little planning.

For as long as I have known her, she has resisted structure.

I am in awe of her because I am the opposite. I love structure. I like making plans and knowing what’s going to happen and when. It makes me feel safe and in control.

I enjoy creating my to-do list and then checking things off. I like how I get things done and how I feel at the end of the day.

Lately, our conversations have turned to improving our eating habits. Of course, I began by logging my food intake. This helped me keep track of what I was eating and I felt accomplished at the end of the day.

My friend fought this. She wanted the freedom to choose what she wanted without the constraints of having to plan. However, since she didn’t have a plan, she would come home from the grocery store with things she really didn’t want.

When I don’t have a plan, I find myself standing in front of the refrigerator wondering what to eat. Then I end up eating way too many chips or cookies. All the stuff I’m trying not to eat.

Recently my friend found an eating plan that felt right to her. It called for planning meals and weighing and measuring her food.

After following this plan, she came to the realization that being free spirited was not freedom at all- it was chaos.

With her new eating plan, she felt more free than she had in a long time because she didn’t really have to think about it. She has set guidelines to follow and as long as she stays inside those she feels satisfied and happy.

So that must mean because I’m a planner, things are copacetic with me. I wish.

Because I usually get results, I think, “if a little planning is good then a lot of planning is better.” The drill sergeant comes out and begins whipping me into shape.

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No matter what I do, it’s never good enough for the drill sergeant. I become miserable and I end up quitting or working myself so hard I burn out or get sick.

In any area of our lives, if the pendulum swings too far toward free spirit, it can lead to chaos and no results. Or if our plan is too rigid it may trigger the drill sergeant which can lead to results but not sustainable ones.

We need to aim for somewhere in between. And it always helps to have a supportive friend to share the journey.

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